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redox reaction

I am understanding that the Hydrogen ions oxidize the calcium metal, neutralizing itself and creating a calcium cation. My question is why does the Hydrogen oxidize the calcium? Doesn't it prefer to have an empty outer shell? Does it want more to be neutral or to have an empty outer shell?

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In one simple sentence, a more reactive metal is more likely to donate its electrons than a less reactive metal.

What makes it more reaction, for example francium, it has more electrons shells thus the nucleus Is less electronegative to the valence electrons.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not concerned with why the calcium is oxidized, that makes sense to me. What I am wondering is why the Hydrogen takes the electron. Isn't the hydrogen more stable as an H+ ion? $\endgroup$ – Sam D20 Oct 2 '14 at 1:11
  • $\begingroup$ No it has nothing to do with stability, it is just which is more willing to give up electron. And since calcium has a bigger atom. It tends to lose electrons due to weaker electronegativity. It gives the electrons to hydrogen. $\endgroup$ – most venerable sir Oct 2 '14 at 1:15
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This is a simple example of the reactivity series. More reactive metals will displace less reactive metal ions, and they switch places, with the more reactive metal becoming the ion and and the less reactive ion becoming a metal. This can be very cool in many situations: for example, copper metal can displace a silver salt to plate silver metal and produce a blue copper salt. See this video! In any case, hydrogen is consider a reference "metal" in the reactivity series, and it is less reactive than calcium, so the displacement reaction you cite occurs.

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